Sexual predator prowled motorway areas for women and girls, court hears

A “DANGEROUS sexual predator” who raped eight women and girls “prowled” areas around the M25 in Britain in a bid to find victims in quiet open spaces, a court heard yesterday.

Former railway worker Antoni Imiela’s first victim was just 10 when she was snatched from outside a local youth centre in Ashford, Kent, in November 2001, a jury was told.

The 49-year-old went on to target eight other victims in a series of attacks across the south east of England and the Midlands, often in “remarkably similar” locations, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

After one of the attacks, in which he bound his victim’s hands, he called the woman’s mother on her mobile phone and bragged “I’ve just sh****d her”, the court heard.

Five days later the jury was told he attacked another woman raping her twice and telling her: “I’m not going to hurt you physically. This will just leave you emotionally scarred.”

Imiela, from Appledore, near Ashford, Kent, denies nine counts of rape against three girls under 16 and five women. One of the women was allegedly raped twice.

The charges relate to attacks in Kent, Surrey, south west-London and Hertfordshire, which he allegedly carried out between November 2001 and October 2002. He also denies the kidnap, indecent assault and attempted rape of a 10-year-old girl in Birmingham on November 21, 2002.

Mr Dennis said that after the Ashford rape “the defendant was to make eight further sexual attacks on lone females. He was to demonstrate that he was a dangerous sexual predator”.

“He was not an opportunist who acted on the spur of the moment. He was someone who went long distances for his victims.”

He added: “His method of attack was generally to take the victim by surprise, approaching them from behind and grabbing the victim by the head or neck, then leading them into undergrowth.

“He would remove his victim’s clothing, sometimes using items of clothing to tie them or to clean himself.”

He said that items of clothing were often taken away from the scene of the rape to remove any forensic evidence that he may have left on them.

Mr Dennis said that Imiela would “utilise” the M25 and M20 to get to areas where he would “prowl” for victims.

Imiela, dressed in a dark suit, blue shirt and tie, looked on from the glass-fronted dock as Mr Dennis, prosecuting, ran through each attack in detail in front of the jury of five women and seven men.

He began by telling the jury about the Ashford rape of the 10-year-old girl, who he said during her ordeal “was carried for more than a third of a mile along paths and also through stinging nettles”

“Her pitiful pleas that she was only 10 years old were ignored,” he said.

The court heard that the girl was left semi-naked in the undergrowth with instructions to count to 500 before going anywhere.

Mr Dennis said the final rape took place on a 14-year-old girl in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, who was attacked as she walked home from her aunt’s house.

The breakthrough for police came following the Hertfordshire attack, when a CD fit was compiled with help from the victim. Three weeks later, on November 19, officers went to Imiela’s home in Appledore and showed him the image.

“He agreed that it did look rather like him,” Mr Dennis said. Officers then took a DNA swab from his mouth which was to match samples gathered from some of the crime scenes.

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